SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS – The Illinois National Guard’s United States Property and Fiscal Office (USPFO) was honored by the National Guard Bureau’s Directorate of Programs and Resources for fiscal stewardship and its efforts to change the acquisition process.
The USPFO received the Fiscal Stewardship Award, an award noting USPFO’s work to be excellent stewards of taxpayer dollars, during its annual USPFO workshop, according to Col. Melissa R. Beauman, Illinois National Guard’s USPFO. This is the second consecutive year the Illinois National Guard has earned the Fiscal Stewardship Award.
“It’s an honor to receive the Fiscal Stewardship award. It is a testament to the hard work and dedication the personnel who work in the USPFO have to ensure they are always expending appropriations responsibly and properly,” Beauman said. “It also shows our efforts to always follow regulatory guidance and ensure those individuals expending federal funds are properly.”
Beauman said the Fiscal Stewardship award is point based, and determined through a scorecard evaluation by the National Guard Bureau. The 54 states and territories which make up the National Guard Bureau are divided into one of three categories based on end strength of National Guard military members. Small states and territories have less than 5,000 members, medium states and territories have between 5,000 and 10,000 members and large states and territories have more than 10,000 members. With an estimated 10,000 Soldiers making up the Illinois Army National Guard, and an estimated 3,000 Airman in the Air National Guard, Illinois is one of 18 states in the large states and territories category. The Illinois National Guard received the highest in the nation score of 92. The national average score was 65.
It was one of two awards the USPFO received for their achievements and contributions in contracting excellence. The second award, the Guardian of Contract Excellence Award, was received by Lt. Col. Milton Ware, Supervisory Contract Specialist, Illinois National Guard, for his efforts in changing the way the Illinois National Guard executes contracts. Ware received the award at a dinner hosted by Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel, Chief of the National Guard Bureau.
“Lieutenant Colonel Ware has been instrumental in creating significant change in the Illinois National Guard acquisition process, working tirelessly to guard and maintain the acquisition process as an advocate for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the process on all levels,” said Beauman in the award recommendation.
Beauman explained that to truly appreciate Ware’s efforts it’s important to understand his operating environment.
“Prior to his arrival in Illinois and the contracting office, there was a lack of understanding of acquisition procurement action lead time (PALT),” Beauman said. “He has worked tirelessly to move Illinois past the status quo and the way things have always been done.”
“In the past, acquisitions were normally awarded for one year. His efforts to streamline acquisitions and increase efficiency within the Illinois National Guard, have resulted in contracts being awarded with a base and option years.”
“To get to the current process wasn’t easy,” she said. “Lieutenant Colonel Ware worked to effectively communicate with senior leadership to teach the correct process for executing acquisitions. Through training senior leaders, he was able to communicate the PALT for different contracts. His efforts has been instrumental in significantly changing the way the Illinois National Guard does business.”
Beauman said that Ware being recognized with the Guardian of Contract Excellence Award reflects his efforts to turn around the Illinois National Guard contracting program.
“This award is great for him and the Illinois National Guard,” she said. “It shows the Illinois National Guard is ensuring fiscal stewardship and compliance with contracting rules and regulations when awarding contracts for goods and services. This award also shows his hard work in ensuring the purchasing and contracting office is well trained and able to stand on its own when he leaves for his next assignment.”
Beauman said the awards highlight how the Illinois National Guard USPFO contributes to Guard missions.
"We provide the contracting tools that enable the Soldier and Airman to have the supplies and services necessary to support the war fight, partnership building and homeland security," Beauman said. “With limited resources, we are very mindful we are stewards of taxpayer dollars, and work hard to optimize our operations to achieve efficiencies and still stay compliant with regulations.”